US Secretary of State reaffirms US commitment to two-state solution during call with President Mahmoud Abbas.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the State Department said in a statement Saturday.
The head of the US diplomacy discussed joint efforts to improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people and enhance their security and freedom during a call with Abbas on Friday, the statement said.
Blinken “underscored his deep concern over the situation in the West Bank, including the heightened tensions, violence and loss of Palestinian and Israeli lives, and underscored the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation,” according to the Department of State.
He also “reaffirmed our commitment to a two-state solution,” which envisions an independent state of Palestine alongside Israel.
The statement came amid growing violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Palestinian president briefed the US secretary of state on Israeli attacks on Palestinians, the Israeli blockade of Palestinian towns and villages as well as settler violence, the Wafa news agency reported.
israeli forces killed four Palestinians in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday as Israel tallied the final votes in national elections held this week.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained a comfortable majority backed by far-right allies, including Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit party, who called for the expulsion of Palestinians “disloyal” to Israel.
On Friday, tensions erupted again in the blockaded Gaza Strip as Israel fighter jets targeted what they called a “rocket manufacturing site”in response to several rockets fired at Israel – the first launched since the deadly three-day military offensive in the besieged enclave in August.
No Palestinian faction claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks.
Hazem Qasem, a spokesman for Hamas, said “Israel’s barbaric bombardment of the Gaza Strip at dawn today is a blatant act of aggression and represents an extension of its open warfare against our people wherever we exist”.
More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in almost daily Israeli raids in the occupied territories since the start of the year.
Israel stepped up raids following a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel in March.
The Biden administration has sought to restore credible US engagement with the Palestinians after the administration of former US President Donald Trump cutting aid, downgraded on status of its main diplomatic mission in Palestine and fueled tensions by move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of the latter as the capital of Israel.
Israel wants undivided Jerusalem as its capital. He effectively wields de facto control over the city after annexing East Jerusalem – a move not recognized by the international community.
Palestinians see Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the major sticking points in efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
During his confirmation hearing in January 2021, Blinken also reiterated his support for a two-state solution, but added, “In reality, it’s hard to see short-term prospects for moving forward on this. .
“What would be important is to ensure that neither side takes steps that make the already difficult process even more difficult,” he said.
The Israeli government has gone ahead with the construction of new settlements which are illegal under international law and which undermine Palestinian hopes for an independent state.
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